Monday, December 10, 2012

Learning from Mary

Just a quick little reflection which comes from the Rosary:

We find little trouble in taking satisfaction, especially after some struggle or degree of difficulty in doing a task or surviving some hardship. This is natural. We tend to enjoy any opportunity to luxuriate, and if we get to do this after some period of unpleasantness then we are all the happier [and more smug] for it!

This seems to be neither the way nor the will of God though. Our Lady's hardships never seemed to end. First she was given a pregnancy to bear, while unmarried and around age 14 or 15. After finally marrying she was made to undertake a trip, while in a delicate condition, from her home to Bethlehem, the land of her husband's fathers. After childbirth, painless in her case, Our Lady had to contend with another physical and another spiritual dolor: the threat to her divine Son's life and the subsequent passage to Egypt, which is full of rich symbolism in itself. Perhaps finally believing the threats to her and her Son had subsided, she engaged in the Mosaic purification ritual in the temple and presented her divine Son, again according to the law, only to learn from Simeon that her Son would be the subject of the "fall and the resurrection of many in Israel" (Luke 2:34). We could continue this exercise in tracing the Virgin's struggles, but I see no point in doing so.

In short, whenever Our Lady was doing God's Will she never had it easy, nor did she find sufficient opportunity to relax or luxuriate. Whenever some place for peace or relaxation presented itself to her, it was quelled by some new cross, as happened in the temple.

Doing God's Will requires some struggle, some suffering, some hardship for many reasons, not the least of which is that doing His Will is quite demanding and difficult in and of itself. He's God, for goodness sake. His standards are high. Once in a while He will grant us consolations to our pains or moments of inspiration to notify us that we are following the proper path. The most famous of these was when Our Lady sang the Magnificat for the first time to her cousin, St. Elizabeth. The work of God may be difficult, but it certainly should not be considered miserable!

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